The song came together around April 1986, but musical elements can be traced back to an instrumental the band rehearsed at soundcheck the previous February. Lyrical elements or ideas could also be traced back to a discussion between Morrissey and Johnny at about the same time.
It was recorded in May 1986 at Livingston Studios in London with producer John Porter and fifth Smith Craig Gannon, alonside "The Draize Train" and an early, slower version of "Sweet And Tender Hooligan".
This song was done in concert by the Smiths every night on the 1986 Queen Is Dead tour, bar one concert that ended prematurely. This means that it was done 39 times in total, perhaps even 40 if we take into account the fact that information is missing for one set that year.
It was done a further 80 times by Morrissey after the Smiths. It was reintroduced in his sets at the end of May 2006, so a few months into the Tour Of The Tormentors MMVI, and done without break each and every night until the end of that tour, for a total of 50 performances, most of them as set opener. The song was a part-timer in the first half of the subsequent Greatest Hits tour, done 20 times between early May and early June 2007, plus 4 more airings in July. Morrissey sang it 5 times during the first leg of the 2011 tour. It was last heard once on the 2012 tour.
No demos or studio outtakes of this song have leaked to the general public at this point in time.
(about "Panic") "It is the one I like the most from The Smiths."
"To those who took offence at the 'burn down the disco' line I'd say -- please show me the black members of New Order! For me, personally, New Order make great disco music, but there's no black people in the group. The point I'm making is that you can't just interchange the words 'black' and 'disco', or the phrases 'black music' and 'disco music'. It makes no earthly sense... 'Panic' came about at the time of Chernobyl. Morrissey and myself were listening to a Newsbeat radio report about it. The story about this shocking disaster comes to an end and then, immediately, we're off into Wham!'s 'I'm Your Man'. I remember actually saying 'what the fuck has this got to do with peoples' lives?' We hear about Chernobyl, then, seconds later, we're expected to be jumping around to 'I'm Your Man'... And so -- 'hang the blessed DJ'. I think it was a great lyric, important and applicable to anyone who lives in England. I mean, even the most ardent disco fan wouldn't want to be subjected to that stuff, would they?"
Didn't some say 'Panic' was slightly similar to T Rex's 'Metal Guru'?
"The influence of T-Rex is very profound on certain songs of The Smiths i.e. "Panic" and "Shoplifters". Morrissey was himself also mad about Bolan. When we wrote "Panic" he was obsessed with "Metal Guru" and wanted to sing in the same style. He didn't stop singing it in an attempt to modify the words of "Panic" to fit the exact rhythm of "Metal Guru". He also exhorted me to use the same guitar break so that the two songs are the same!!!"